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LESSON XII
Discords
Why rushed the discords in, but that harmony should be prized?
Browning.
Music, like life, has its ups and downs, its concords and its discords. Without the latter, music would undoubtedly be a very tame and uninteresting thing. The most strik­ing aspect of modern music is that which is concerned with discord. The subject is a wide and complicated one, and need not be thoroughly investigated in all its aspects by the keyboard composer. General principles and out­standing facts are what will help him most.
The whole vast system of non-harmonic tones in music has its origin in the device of holding one voice while an­other proceeds to the next chord—in other words, in what is known as the suspension. The rule of the suspension, as indeed of all discords, is that it must proceed by step into a concord. This simple plan has been developed and varied in numerous ways. The old composers allowed only the descending suspension; modern musicians hold that, in general, any progression that is correct in its simple form may be varied by suspension. The old writers in­sisted that a suspension should be strictly prepared by a concord; the moderns discard this rule.
The keyboard student need not go further, at present, than to recognize the general principle that any smooth progression may be changed to a suspension provided the effect is satisfactory to the ear, which is the ultimate judge of what is right.
In general, descending suspensions are more agreeable than ascending ones, though instances of the ascending variety are so frequent in Beethoven and other composers that they cannot be said to be incorrect. The student will do well, however, to confine his efforts at present mainly to the descending use.
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